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May 22nd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: .284 Shehanes for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with 30-32″ barrels using H4831sc, Vihtavuori N560, or Alliant Reloder 16. (That’s with a reasonably fast barrel. Some barrels are faster than others.)

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Showcase — Two Special F-Open Rifles

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. This rig scored second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Here’s another handsome .284 Shehane F-Open rifle. Owner Jason Cohen explained why he chose the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly[.]”

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development.

The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. This was sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. Jason noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. Jason asked Bryan to fit the stock with forearm rails, shown in the photo below. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
Jason explains why he selected the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.”

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yards and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Shehane Raffle Prize Rifle for Team USA

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

This stunning .284 Shehane rifle was constructed as a raffle prize to benefit Team USA members preparing for the F-Class World Championship. This eye-catching F-Open rifle was crafted by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona. This prize rifle features all top-of-the-line components: Borden BRMXD Action, Cerus multi-laminate stock with forearm extension, R.A.D. recoil reduction system (hydraulic-damped buttpad), Bix ‘N Andy trigger, and Nightforce Competition scope. The stainless Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 Shehane wildcat, and sports an F-Class Products tuner on the end.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

.284 Shehane Also Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition

The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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May 20th, 2022

How Muzzle Velocity Changes with Different Barrel Twist Rates

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz
Many barrel-makers mark the twist rate and bore dimensions on their barrel blanks.

Does muzzle velocity change with faster or slower barrel twist rates? Absolutely, but much less than you might think. Faster twist rates do slow down bullets somewhat, but the speed loss is NOT that significant. With Bartlein .308 Win barrels of identical length and contour, a 1:12″-twist barrel was only 8 fps faster than a 1:8″-twist barrel. That was the result of testing by Applied Ballistics.

The Applied Ballistics team tested six (6) same-length/same-contour Bartlein barrels to observe how twist rate might affect muzzle velocity. This unique, multi-barrel test is featured in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Vol. 1. That book includes other fascinating field tests, including a comprehensive chronograph comparison.

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz

applied Ballistics Barrel Twist rate velocity testing test bryan Litz
Barrel Twist Rate vs. Velocity — What Tests Reveal
by Bryan Litz
When considering barrel twist rates, it’s a common belief that faster twist rates will reduce muzzle velocity. The thinking is that the faster twist rate will resist forward motion of the bullet and slow it down. There are anecdotal accounts of this, such as when someone replaces a barrel of one brand/twist with a different brand and twist and observes a different muzzle velocity. But how do you know the twist rate is what affected muzzle velocity and not the barrel finish, or bore/groove dimensions? Did you use the same chronograph to measure velocity from both barrels? Do you really trust your chronograph?

Summary of Test Results
After all the smoke cleared, we found that muzzle velocity correlates to twist rate at the average rate of approximately 1.33 FPS per inch of twist. In other words, your velocity is reduced by about 5 FPS if you go from a 1:12″ twist to a 1:8″ twist. — Bryan Litz

Savage Test Rifle with Six Bartlein Barrels
Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Most shooters don’t have access to the equipment required to fully explore questions like this. These are exactly the kinds of things we examine in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Vol. 1. In that book, we present experiments conducted in the Applied Ballistics lab. Some of those experiments took on a “Myth Buster” tone as we sought to confirm (or deny) popular pre-conceptions. For example, here’s how we approached the question of barrel twist and muzzle velocity.

Six .308 Win Barrels from Bartlein — All Shot from the Same Rifle
We acquired six (6) barrels from the same manufacturer (Bartlein), all the same length and contour, and all chambered with the same reamer (SAAMI spec .308 Winchester). All these barrels were fitted to the same Savage Precision Target action, and fired from the same stock, and bench set-up. Common ammo was fired from all six barrels having different twist rates and rifling configurations. In this way, we’re truly able to compare what effect the actual twist rate has on muzzle velocity with a reasonable degree of confidence.

Prior to live fire testing, we explored the theoretical basis of the project, doing the physics. In this case, an energy balance is presented which predicts how much velocity you should expect to lose for a bullet that’s got a little more rotational energy from the faster twist. In the case of the .30 caliber 175 grain bullets, the math predicts a loss of 1.25 fps per inch-unit of barrel twist (e.g. a 1:8″ twist is predicted to be 1.25 fps slower than a 1:9″ twist).

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Above, data shows relationship between Twist Rate and Muzzle Velocity (MV) for various barrel twist rates and rifling types. From fast to slow, the three 1:10″ twist barrels are: 5R (canted land), 5 Groove, 5 Groove left-hand twist.

We proceeded with testing all 6 barrels, with twist rates from 1:8″ to 1:12″. After all the smoke cleared, we found that muzzle velocity correlates to twist rate at the average rate of approximately 1.33 fps per inch of twist. In other words, your velocity is reduced by about 5 fps if you go from a 1:12″ twist to a 1:8″ twist. [Editor: That’s an average for all the lengths tested. The actual variance between 1:12″ and 1:8″ here was 8 FPS.] In this case the math prediction was pretty close, and we have to remember that there’s always uncertainty in the live fire results. Uncertainty is always considered in terms of what conclusions the results can actually support with confidence.

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsThis is just a brief synopsis of a single test case. The coverage of twist rates in Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting Vol. 1 is more detailed, with multiple live fire tests. Results are extrapolated for other calibers and bullet weights. Needless to say, the question of “how twist rate affects muzzle velocity” is fully answered.

Other chapters in the book’s twist rate section include:
· Stability and Drag — Supersonic
· Stability and Drag — Transonic
· Spin Rate Decay
· Effect of Twist rate on Precision

Other sections of the book include: Modern Rifles, Scopes, and Bullets as well as Advancements in Predictive Modeling. This book is sold through the Applied Ballistics online store. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting is also available as an eBook in Amazon Kindle format.

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May 19th, 2022

Reloading Bench — How to Optimize Case Neck Tension

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
One thing that plays a major role in building an accuracy load is neck tension [one of the factors that controls the “grip” on a bullet]. I think a lot of reloaders pretty much take this for granted and don’t give that enough thought.

So, how much neck tension is enough?

Through the years and shooting both a wide variety of calibers and burn rates of powder, I’ve had the best accuracy overall with .002″ of neck tension. Naturally you will run into a rifle now and then that will do its best with something different like .001″ or even .003″, but .002″ has worked very well for me. So how do we control the neck tension? Let’s take a look at that.

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer [for starters] is to have an expander ball that is .003″ smaller than bullet diameter. So for example in a .224 caliber, run an expander ball of .221″. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

Tips for Dies With Interchangeable Neck Bushings
If you’re using a bushing die, I measure across the neck of eight or ten loaded rounds, then take an average on these and go .003″ under that measurement. There are other methods to determine bushing size, but this system has worked well for me.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Proper Annealing Can Deliver More Uniform Neck Tension
Another thing I want to mention is annealing. When brass is the correct softness, it will take a “set” coming out of the sizing die far better than brass that has become to hard. When brass has been work hardened to a point, it will be more springy when it comes out of a sizing die and neck tension will vary. Have you ever noticed how some bullets seated harder than others? That is why.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Paying closer attention to neck tension will give you both better accuracy and more consistent groups.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 19th, 2022

Reloading Tip: Pulling Bullets Using Press-Mounted Collet Tools

Collet Bullet Puller Hornady RCBS Press Mount Reloading

Do you have some ammo that got loaded incorrectly, perhaps with the wrong powder? Then you’ll want to disassemble the ammo for safety’s sake. You can use an impact puller to do this task, but if you have more than a dozen rounds or so, you may prefer to use a collet-style bullet puller. These work very quickly and positively, making quick work of big jobs. The efficiency of the collet-style puller is worth the investment if you frequently disassemble ammo. These devices retail for under $25.00 (collets sold separately). Normally, you’ll need a specific collet for each bullet diameter. But collets are not that costly, so this isn’t a big deal, particularly if you only load a few calibers, such as .223, 6mm, and .308.

Hornady and RCBS use different mechanisms to tighten the collet around the bullet. On the Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller, a lever-arm on the top of the bullet puller serves to tighten the collet around the bullet. Simply rotate the lever from the vertical to the horizontal position to grab the bullet. Lower the ram to remove the case. The bullet will drop out when you return the lever arm to the vertical position. This is demonstrated in the video below:

Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Demonstrated

Collet bullet-pullers resemble a loading die with a lever or handle on the top. They screw into a standard reloading press. Hornady and RCBS both make collet-style bullet pullers. They use the same basic principle — the device tightens a collet around the bullet, and then the bullet is separated from the case by lowering the press ram. NOTE: Collet pullers may leave small marks on your bullets, unlike impact (kinetic) pullers.*

Hornady collet bullet pullerLike the Hornady tool, the RCBS Bullet Puller employs a collet to grab the bullet. However, the RCBS tool tightens the collet in a different way. The head of the RCBS tool is threaded internally. By rotating the lever arm clockwise in a horizontal circle you squeeze the collet around the bullet. To remove the bullet, after lowering the press ram, simply spin the lever arm back in the opposite direction. The use of the RCBS tool is demonstrated in these two videos:

RCBS Collet Bullet Puller Demonstrated:

WARNING: When removing bullets from loaded cartridges, always make sure there are no obstructions or debris in your shell-holder or under the loaded round. NEVER engage a primer seating accessory on your press when working with loaded rounds. You can cause a round to discharge by contacting the primer! Also, we recommend you keep your head and torso away from the bullet puller tool at all times.

*By contrast, impact pullers rarely mark bullets, particularly if you put a little bit of foam or paper wadding in the closed end of your impact puller. When dismantling loaded rounds, powder kernels can get trapped in the wadding, so you should remove and replace the wadding before changing to cartridges loaded with a different powder type (assuming you intend to save the powder).

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May 18th, 2022

Optimal Barrel Twist Rate — Factors to Consider

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth
Here’s an extreme range of .224-Caliber bullets: 35gr varmint bullet and 90gr match bullet. Of course, along with bullet length/design, you need to consider MV when choosing twist rate.

Even with the same caliber (and same bullet weight), different bullet types may require different rates of spin to stabilize properly. The bullet’s initial spin rate (RPM) is a function of the bullet’s muzzle velocity and the spin imparted by the rifling in the barrel. You want to ensure your bullet is stable throughout flight. It is better to have too much spin than too little, according to many ballistics experts, including Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. The late Glen Zediker put together some basic tips concerning barrel twist rates and bullet stability. These come from Glen’s book, Top Grade Ammo.

Choosing the Right Twist Rate
I’d always rather have a twist too fast than not fast enough. Generally… I recommend erring toward the faster side of a barrel twist decision. 1:8″ twist is becoming a “new standard” for .224 caliber, replacing 1:9″ in the process. The reason is that new bullets tend to be bigger rather than smaller. Don’t let a too-slow twist limit your capacity to [achieve] better long-range performance.

Base your next barrel twist rate decision on the longest, heaviest bullets you choose to use, and at the same time realize that the rate you choose will in turn limit your bullet choices. If the longest, heaviest bullet you’ll shoot (ever) is a 55-grain .224, then there’s honestly no reason not to use a 1:12″. Likewise true for .308-caliber: unless you’re going over 200-grain bullet weight, a 1:10″ will perform perfectly well.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth

Bullet Length is More Critical than Weight
Bullet length, not weight, [primarily] determines how much rotation is necessary for stability. Twist rate suggestions, though, are most usually given with respect to bullet weight, but that’s more of a generality for convenience’s sake, I think. The reason is that with the introduction of higher-ballistic-coefficient bullet designs, which are longer than conventional forms, it is easily possible to have two same-weight bullets that won’t both stabilize from the same twist rate.

Evidence of Instability
The tell-tale for an unstable (wobbling or tumbling) bullet is an oblong hole in the target paper, a “keyhole,” and that means the bullet contacted the target at some attitude other than nose-first.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo MidsouthIncreasing Barrel Length Can Deliver More Velocity, But That May Still Not Provide Enough Stability if the Twist Rate Is Too Slow

Bullet speed and barrel length have an influence on bullet stability, and a higher muzzle velocity through a longer tube will bring on more effect from the twist, but it’s a little too edgy if a particular bullet stabilizes only when running maximum velocity.

My failed 90-grain .224 experiment is a good example of that: I could get them asleep in a 1:7″ twist, 25-inch barrel, which was chambered in .22 PPC, but could not get them stabilized in a 20-inch 1:7″ .223 Rem. The answer always is to get a twist that’s correct.

These tips were adapted from Glen’s popular 2016 book, Top-Grade Ammo, now $38.95 on Amazon. That work has numerous helpful articles on technical topics. Here are links to this title and other books by Glen Zediker.


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May 17th, 2022

Three Press Comparison Test: Rock Chucker, Co-Ax, Summit

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target Shooter

“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland

British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.

READ Reloading Press Three-Way Comparison Review »

If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target ShooterReview Quick Highlights:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”

RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”

Forster Co-Ax
“[On the Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates [many] novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and lets the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”

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May 17th, 2022

Test Your Gun Smarts with Shooting Sports Crossword Puzzle

shooting sports crossword puzzleLike crosswords? Like guns? Well, thanks to Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA), you can try a crossword puzzle that tests your knowledge of gun stuff and competitive shooting. In the February 2013 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine, you’ll find a crossword puzzle created just for shooters. There are some easy items, such as the location of the annual NRA National Pistol Championships (see story above). Other entries are more difficult, and may require some research. To print the crossword puzzle before you start working, click this Page 12 link, and then select the print icon. Spoiler alert — all the answers appear on PAGE 14 of the same February issue of SSUSA.

NOTE: These pages may be slow to load, but don’t fret, they WILL appear if you’re patient.

shooting sports crossword puzzle

CLICK HERE for Crossword Puzzle Answers.

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May 16th, 2022

BargainFinder 347: Accurateshooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Brownells — RCBS Rebel Master Reloading Kit, $399.99

RCBS Rebel Master Reloading kit Press uniflow measure primer tool brownells
Good press, quality measure, and very complete set of tools

This fine RCBS Rebel Reloading Kit contains all one needs to get started in reloading. This Kit includes: Rebel Single-Stage Reloading Press, Uniflow-III Powder Measure, 1500gr digital scale, hand priming tool, deburring tool, case loading block, powder funnel, hex key set, accessory handle with neck brushes, primer pocket brush, spray case lube, and Speer #15 manual. Currently $399.99 at Brownells, this Kit is a good deal. The exact same Rebel Kit is $439.99 at MidwayUSA and Cabela’s.

2. KYGUNCO — Citadel 12ga Semi-Auto Shotgun, $209.99

shotgun 12 ga semi-auto defense tactical discount kyguncoAmazing deal for under $210 — Sights, good ergos, action and forearm rails

Looking for a semi-auto defensive 12 gauge? This Citadel Warthog offers reliable function, nice ergonomics, and the features you want, all for just a crazy-low $209.99 cash price ($216.29 Credit Card). This nice scattergun boasts a black metal finish and black synthetic stock with black pistol grip. It comes standard with raised tactical rear sight and ghost ring front sight plus a Picatinny rail on the action and on the forearm (for lights etc.). This shotgun includes 3 extended choke tubes. A recent buyer was pleased: “Reliable, great ergonomics, will cycle everything”.

3. Midsouth — SALE on all LEE Presses and Reloading Kits

midsouth LEE tool kit press reloading sale discount
Big savings on all LEE presses, ACP, APP, and reloading kits

LEE makes good basic presses, and the LEE quick-change bushing system for dies is a real time-saver. LEE’s new ACP and APP systems work great for bulk priming and case prep functions. Some top F-Class shooters are now priming with the LEE ACP unit which is very efficient and consistent. Right now all LEE press products and Press kits are on sale at Midsouth. You can save 10-25% on dozens of LEE products. CLICK HERE for all LEE products on sale at Midsouth.

4. Brownells — Magpul PRS Lite Stock for ARs, $99.99

Magpul prs lite stock bag-rider varmint rifle
Excellent AR buttstock that rides bags well, with nice cheekpiece

We like this Magpul PRS Lite Stock for target and varmint work with ARs. The long, straight section on the lower part of the buttstock, with its shallow angle, rides a sandbag WAY better than a typical AR buttstock. This PRS Lite buttstock provides plenty of cheek-height adjustment, as well as 1.4 inches in length-of-pull adjustment. This buttstock, now $99.99 at Brownells, sells elsewhere for $114 or more. We would put this stock (or something similar) on any AR rifle shot from a bench or used with a rear bag. This buttstock is offered in three colors: Black, Flat Dark Earth, or OD Green.

5. Graf & Sons — $70 Rebate on Leupold SX-2 Spotting Scope

leupold alpine sx-2 spotting scope sale instant rebate
Save $70 on quality HD Leupold Spotters now through June 5, 2022

The Leupold SX-2 Alpine HD (High Definition) spotting scope provides exceptionally clear glass and high light transmission. Now through June 5, 2022 you can get a $70 instant rebate when you purchase Leupold SX-2 spotters. Choose the 20-60x60mm SX-2 for $329.99 at Graf’s, or the bigger 20-60x80mm SX-2 for $429.99 at Graf’s. These sale prices include the $70 discount. Savings are automatically applied to the purchase of the following SX-2 Alpine HD models at participating retailers.

6. Natchez — ChargeMaster Combo Dispenser/Scale, $309.99

leupold alpine sx-2 spotting scope sale instant rebate
Effective, very reliable dispenser with detachable scale

The RCBS ChargeMaster was a game-changer for reloaders. And this original-style unit is still preferred by many users because it is very fast and the scale section can be detached and used separately. The ChargeMaster Combo features the ChargeMaster 1500 Scale and ChargeMaster Dispenser. Average dispensing time is less than 30 seconds for a 60gr powder charge. Priced at $309.99 at Natchez on sale, this is a real bargain. The same unit sells for $409.99 on Amazon (100 bucks more). NOTE: If you want to control your scale/dispenser via a Mobile App, we recommend the newer model ChargeMaster Supreme, $408.49 at Precision Reloading.

7. KYGUNCO — .22 LR, .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 SW Ammo Deals

kygunco pistol ammo ammunition sale .380 .40sw 9mm .22 LR
Great deals on quality USA-made pistol and rimfire ammo

KYGUNCO is running a great Ammo Sale right now. Save on popular pistol ammo types. Federal 115gr 9mm is just $16.49 for 50rds. And CCI Blazer .40 SW is $23.70 (50 rds), while Winchester .380 ACP is $20.99 (50 rds). And rimfire ammo is on sale as well — get 333 rounds of Winchester .22 LR ammo for just $24.18 (a mere $0.07/rd).

8. Palmetto State Armory — Norma TAC-22 Ammo, $4.19/box

tac22 22lr ammo sale
Excellent rimfire ammo at a GREAT price — .22 LR Deal of the Year

We’re repeating this deal because we’ve found no other .22 LR ammo that rivals Norma TAC-22 at anywhere near the price — just over 8 cents per round ($4.19/box). If you shoot NRL22 or just practice for fun, grab some Norma TAC22 .22 LR ammo at Palmetto State Armory. On sale at just $4.19 per 50-round box, this TAC-22 ammo is a truly spectacular bargain. In our test, it out-shot some ammo that costs $8 per box. During testing with a CZ 457, one of our Editors had multiple 5-shot groups at 50 yards that were typically one ragged hole (all shots touching). He observed “It’s amazingly good ammo for the money”.

9. Midsouth — Lyman 51st Ed. Reloading Manual, $26.99/$28.99

lyman reloading manual handbook cartridge load data
Good, comprehensive, many powder options, with color illustrations

Everyone should have a good hard copy reloading manual. With a print manual, you can bookmark key pages, quickly compare various powder/bullet combos, and you don’t need a computer in your loading room. We like the Lyman Reloading Manual because it includes all major powder makers. New cartridges in this 51st Edition include 224 Valkyrie, 22 Nosler, 24 Nosler, 6mm ARC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.5 Weatherby RPM, 6.8 Western, 300 PRC, and more. Choose Hard Cover for $28.99 or Soft Cover for $26.99. Both are good deals — the softcover Lyman 51st Reloading Handbook costs $44.97 on Amazon.

10. MidwayUSA — Hoppes Universal Cleaning Kit, $9.99

hoppes black universal gun cleaning kit brushes mop jag patches
Everything you need to clean pistols, rifles, and shotguns — super-low price

This versatile cleaning kit originally retailed for $39.99. Now just $9.99 on sale, this Hoppes Black Universal Cleaning Kit includes 2 oz. of Hoppe’s High-Performance Gun Cleaner, 2 oz. of Hoppes Precision Gun Oil, a 3-piece aluminum cleaning rod, 5 bronze brushes, 3 nylon jags, 2 cotton mops, one nylon shotgun slotted tip, one shotgun adapter, and cleaning patches, all packaged in a reusable storage case. Killer deal — you could pay $9.99 just for the five brushes.

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May 15th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: 20 PPC Pistol — Great for Varmint Adventures

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel
varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

This week’s featured firearm belongs to John “SnakeEye” Seibel, founder of the VarmintsForFun website. In recent years, John has become a “true believer” in the little 20-Caliber cartridges. He says this light-recoiling 20 PPC, Rampro-actioned pistol is perfect for a quick shot on a critter, taken from the front seat of his truck. John tells us: “A long-range pistol is an ideal truck gun in my opinion. It stows in a small area and doesn’t take up the room a rifle does. Just keep ear protection near by at all times! I’ve taken varmints as far as 400+ yards with this 20 PPC pistol, so why would you need a rifle?”

Perspectives on Pistols for the Varmint Hunter

by John Seibel
I decided to try my hand at shooting varmints with a pistol one day when I grew tired of wrestling a rifle around in the truck for a quick shot. Many times when traveling around on the farm you’ll spy a groundhog or fox that usually isn’t more than 200 yards away. A single-shot pistol like the Thompson Contender could fit the bill. With its compact length, around 20 inches, a long-barrel pistol can lay on the truck’s passenger seat for easy access. I usually keep my two leather brick-style sandbags laying beside the console and seat. I have a box made from hard rubber that I lay across the top of the door. I then lay the two bags on top. This makes a nice platform to rest the pistol’s forearm. I like to use a forearm that is at least two inches wide. That lets the gun lay steady—almost like you are shooting from a bench rest. For the shooting hand, I prefer a pistol grip with finger grooves and a slight overhang or flare for the web of your hand.

As for optics, I tried long-eye-relief pistol scopes but they lacked the magnification you need for long-range target shooting or varminting. Those pistol scopes have really long eye-relief because they are designed to work with the pistol held at arm’s length. When shooting at the bench or from a truck that’s not what you want. By the time you find the target and get your eye in the exact location, the varmint has moved on or died of old age! After much fiddling around with pistol-type scopes, I finally decided to use rifle scopes on my long-range pistols. The minimum I use is a 4.5-14×40. Eye relief on a Leupold 4.5-14x40mm is about 3.5 inches at 4.5 power. Field of view is better with rifle scopes too and it’s easier to acquire your target. For this type of shooting a light-recoiling caliber is essential or you will have scope-eye bad! I currently have three long-range pistols and use them to shoot 17M4, 20 PPC, 22 BR, and .223 Rem. The featured gun may be the most accurate of my pistols, and your editor thinks it’s the most handsome of the three.

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

The Rampro Pistol Project — Working with John Illum
A couple of years ago I called John Illum of Rampro about building the ultimate long-range pistol. It just so happens that John was a big time long-range pistol shooter. I told him that I wanted a gun that didn’t recoil badly and wouldn’t torque when fired. As I am a quadriplegic, with no grip in my hands, the gun had to handle well under recoil so I didn’t drop it. Recoil had to be straight back–no twisting.

Well Illum listened to me and came up with a gun that performs just the way I wanted. Illum suggested a rear grip stock of his own design. It has a 2.25″ wide forearm and a rear grip with a slight palm swell that fits your hand perfectly. Another nice feature is the finger grips. It has an extended overhang or “beavertail” that fits comfortably in the web of your hand. Of course it had to be walnut! I chose Rampro’s STP small action with a PPC bolt. His bolt uses a Sako-type extractor. The action is a single-shot. Being right-handed, I chose a right bolt, left port configuration. This works really well in a pistol. You can load with your left hand and see the round laying in the action–that’s what you want in a pistol without a safety.

Gun Specifications
John Illum’s Rampro actions are chrome-moly steel. Commonly you’d see them blued, but I had him put a brushed nickel finish on the action and rings. From a few feet away it looks like stainless. The trigger is Illum’s own design set at 8 ounces, and there’s no creep that I can detect. The action has Remington barrel threads and will accept Remington type triggers. One neat thing is that the action was milled with an integral recoil lug (much like the current Surgeon Action). And the bolt is milled all in one piece–no soldered-on handles. My only gripe with this bolt handle is that it could be a tad longer, but it still is manageable for a single-shot. You’ll also note how slick and streamlined the scope rings are. Illum made those as well. His rings mount to the action via two screws from the inside of the ring, a very elegant set-up for sure. (I currently have a 6.5-20x40mm Nikon scope on this gun. If I had to do this project over again the only thing I would change would be installing a 30mm scope because I like ‘em!).

The barrel is a PacNor Super-Match heavy taper with flutes milled by John Illum, who did all the gunsmithing on this pistol. Twist rate is 1 in 12 inches, with an 11° crown, polished to a mirror finish. The barrel was bead-blasted on the exterior to cut glare. I had Illum cut a 20 PPC minimum-spec chamber, with a .237″ neck. That way I don’t have to turn necks on the Lapua Brass (220 Russian necked down to .204). This is a varmint gun–there’s no need for turned necks. [Editor’s Note: Rampro is no longer in business. However, John tells us “I haven’t had any problems with the action so far. If I did, most competent gunsmiths could fix them easily.”]

Handgun Handling Tips
If you want to shoot a long-range pistol but have never have shot this kind of gun before, try to find a mentor — someone with a gun like this who can school you a bit in the correct technique. The first thing you notice is that you have no comb or cheek piece to help align your head and neck. And getting used to the optics takes some practice. Most people fit a pistol-type (long eye-relief) scope, but these can be awkward to use, and somewhat frustrating at first — the field of view is very restricted. Move your head very slightly and you can lose the sight picture completely. You can solve that problem by using a standard rifle scope, but that will put your head very close to the eye-piece — just three to four inches. With that arrangement, if you don’t hold the gun correctly … POW instant scope-eye!

Now once you get the hang of shooting a long-range pistol you will find it can be just as accurate as a rifle. But there is a trick to shooting them. Shooting a long-range pistol is a whole new world — you need to hold it just right. If you don’t let the gun roll back a little (i.e. if you grip too hard) you will get vertical stringing. I hold my hand against the back of the grip to guide the gun but let it almost free recoil. Looking at how compact the pistol is, you might think “Hey, this would make an ideal ‘walking-around’ varminter.” Well, that’s not really the case. For real precision shooting a solid benchrest type set-up is a must. You can attach a bipod to a long-range pistol, but you would need a flat surface. A fence-post top would work pretty well without a bipod if you carry a small light bag. Overall though, this type of pistol works best as a sandbag gun. For a walking-around gun, you’d be happier with a rifle I think.

Load Development and Accuracy
When I built this gun, Hornady had just released the 32gr V-Max (see footnote), a good match for my barrel’s 1:12″ twist. I choose the 20 PPC because of the very good Lapua brass (220 Russian parent case). I figured teaming Lapua brass with the little .204 bullet would offer excellent accuracy combined with very low recoil. My expectations were fulfilled. The brass proved to be excellent and the PacNor loved the little V-Max pills.

I tried quite a few different loads and most powders that I tried worked very well. These included: H322, Benchmark, AA 2460, and Reloader 7. Amazingly, with just 14″ of barrel, all of these powders delivered impressive velocities–ranging from 3914 to 4074 fps. I settled on 48 Harrell’s clicks of Accurate Arms (AA) 2460, which drives the 32gr V-Maxs to 3995 fps.

With AA 2460 the gun will shoot in the low 3s at 100 yards consistently — as long as I steer the gun right, which takes some practice. I think groups in the low 0.3″ range is excellent for a non-benchrest factory bullet. Despite having no buttstock to grab, recoil on my 20 PPC pistol is very minimal — it just rocks back into your hand. The main problem is to keep the scope from smacking you, since I used a rifle scope with short eye-relief. Muzzle flash and noise are tolerable but DO NOT shoot one of these without good ear protection. Your ears are very close to the muzzle.

I also have a 20 PPC rifle built on a BAT action with a Richard’s #008 laminated stock cut down in size. That gun’s 1:9″-twist Lilja barrel lets me shoot the Berger 50gr LTB bullets. In the wind, these perform quite a bit better than the 32s. My two favorite loads for the 50 grainers are: a) 26.0gr VV N135, CCI 450 primers, 3615 fps; and b) 27.3gr Hodgdon Varget, CCI 450s, 3595 fps. The BAT 20 PPC also shoots really well with the 40gr V-Max, pushed by N135 and Fed 205M primers.

Pistol Action Legal Issues
One important thing to remember if you build a pistol is to make sure the receiver came from the factory as a pistol and was titled as a pistol. Rifle actions are illegal to use as a pistol. Yes, that’s a nonsensical law, but it’s still on the books. You can use factory pistol actions such as the XP 100.

If you want a new custom action such as a BAT (my favorite), you can order it as a pistol action and when you get it, register it as a pistol. Note, in some states there may be additional fees, waiting periods, or restrictions for pistol actions (as opposed to rifle actions). Check your local laws before ordering the action.

Future Trends in Varmint Hunting — Plenty of Twenties

I think these sub-caliber rounds, both 20s and the 17s, are the future of recreational varminting, at least out to medium distances. The Twenties offer low recoil, excellent accuracy, and components keep getting better and better. The bullet-makers are finally making high-quality bullets in appropriate weights. Compared to something like a 22-250, I’ve noticed that my 20 PPC rifle has a lot less noise, a plus when you want to be quiet around other people and varmints.

The flat trajectory is another big advantage in the field. With the 20 PPC, zeroed at 100 yards, I can pretty much hold dead center and get hits out to 300 yards or so without touching the scope to add elevation. [Editor: The same is true with the 20 Practical cartridge, basically a .223 Rem necked down to .20 Caliber. It has proven very accurate and easy to tune.]

The 20-Caliber cartridges we have now, in particular the 20 PPC and 20 BR, are very well-refined. You don’t have to do a lot of tuning or tinkering to have a very accurate, effective varmint-slayer. In fact, if I could dream up a signature “20 VFF” (Varmints For Fun) cartridge it would basically be the 20 PPC. In truth, nearly any of the popular 17- or 20-Caliber cartridges will perform well if you start with top-quality brass. The sub-calibers have less recoil and burn less powder, and there are very good components for most varmint and target-shooting applications. To me it seems that these small calibers work so well because of good components, low recoil, and efficient cartridge designs (particularly in the VarTarg and PPC cases).

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

WARNING: For your own safety, ALWAYS reduce all starting charges by 10% and work up carefully! Ambient temperature changes, powder lot variations, and differences in barrel friction can result in significantly increased pressures.

20 PPC LOAD MAP
Bullet GR Maker Powder Charge Primer Case Velocity
fps
Barrel
Twist
Comments
32 Hornady
V-Max
H322 27.6 Rem 7½ Lapua 4000 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Form Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
AA 2460 29.5 Rem 7½ Lapua 3995 PacNor 1:12 SnakeEye
Pistol Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
H4198 25.1 CCI BR4 Lapua 4222 PacNor 1:12 A. Boyechko Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
H322 26.0 Rem 7½ Lapua 3700 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
VV N540 28.8 CCI BR4 SAKO 4064 PacNor 1:12 D.Moore, Low 2s
40 Hornady
V-Max
VV N135 27.8 Fed 205m Lapua 3950 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
VV N135 26.0 CCI 450 Lapua 3615 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
Varget 27.3 CCI 450 Lapua 3595 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load

Footnote: When first manufactured, the small Hornady 20-Caliber V-Max bullet was actually 33 grains, not 32 grains as sold currently. I still have some of the 33-grainers. I’ve observed no functional difference between the 33s and the current 32-grainers.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 14th, 2022

Can’t Find Bullets? Try American Bullet Company and Save Money

Factory seconds american bullet company .22 6mm .243 .308 discount bullets creedmoor sports

We’ve been hearing that top-name bullets are in short supply right now, particularly in popular .224, 6mm and .308 calibers. Here’s a new option for HPBT bullets that can serve for practice and local club matches. Creedmoor Sports now offers American Bullet Company bullets. These are “seconds” from a major bullet-maker, but they can be a good choice for competitors who want to spend more time on the range perfecting their position, trigger pull, and wind-reading skills.

Creedmoor Sports states: “American Bullet Company bullets technically are factory seconds, and are priced accordingly to provide more range time without breaking the bank. But, since Distinguished Rifleman Scott Young recently shot scores of 597 and 600 out of 600, with very high X counts, it’s easy to see they do not sacrifice on performance.” You can buy these bullets and save up to 50% compared to first-run offerings. Then you may want to sort the bullets by weight and/or base-to ogive measurement.

We think these are a good choice for service rifle shooters as well as M1 Garand, M1A, and 1903 Springfield shooters running .30-06 or .308 Win chamberings. And, at just $22.95 per 100 and $104.95 per 500, the 52gr and 55gr .224 bullets will also work well for high-volume varmint shooters.

These bullets are available in a .224, .243 (6mm), and .308 calibers in a variety of bullet weights. Choose 100-ct, 250-ct, or 500-ct boxes.

.224 Caliber: 52gr, 55gr, 69gr, 77gr
.243 (6mm) Caliber: 107gr
.308 Caliber: 125gr, 168gr, 175gr

Factory seconds american bullet company .22 6mm .243 .308 discount bullets creedmoor sports

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May 11th, 2022

Brownells Contest — $9999 Prize SIG .277 Fury MCX-Spear

.277 Sig Fury MCX-Spear rifle

So, are you feeling lucky? Then you may want to head over to Brownells.com. Right now Brownells and SIG SAUER are running a cool contest, with an impressive Grand Prize valued at $9,999.00.

PRIZE PACKAGE: Brownells customers will get a chance to win a SIG MCX-Spear chambered in .277 Fury, along with a training class hosted at the SIG SAUER Academy, airfare to the class and lodging, and an SLX suppressor. The hardware and the Academy training trip have a combined value of $9,999.00.

The contest runs through May 15, 2022. Get more INFO or enter via the Brownells SIG MCX-Spear & Training Sweepstakes page. No purchase is necessary. However, the winner must be legally eligible to own the SIG MCX-Spear, and must be from a state where Suppressors and Short Barreled Rifles are legal with the ATF tax stamp.

.277 Sig Fury MCX-Spear rifle

.277 Fury — Modern Hybrid Cartridge That Delivers Amazing Velocities
The .277 Fury cartridge (shown below) is the same length as the .308 Winchester and has a unique hybrid three-piece cartridge case allowing for increased pressures that drive bullets at high velocities. The MCX-Spear is the civilian version of the SIG rifle recently chosen by the US Army as the new Next Generation Squad Weapons System.

.277 Sig Fury MCX-Spear rifle

“Right now, civilian variants of the MCX-Spear are very limited in number and almost impossible to find,” said Brownells Marketing V.P. Ryan Repp. “This giveaway is a great chance for somebody to win one, and we’re very happy we can partner with a great company like SIG SAUER to offer this fantastic prize.”

MCX-Spear Rifle Features Short Barrel and Suppressor
The MCX-Spear Prize Rifle is a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) with a 13″ barrel and SLX suppressor optimized for this and its special ammunition. Both the rifle and suppressor are subject to Federal paperwork and rules under the ATF. Brownells will cover the $400 for the two required tax stamps. Obviously, the winner will need to live in a state that permits suppressors and short-barreled rifles.

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May 10th, 2022

Varmint Cartridge Options and Tips for Novice Varmint Hunters

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Here is one of Bill Reid’s 6mmBR (6BR) rigs. Like his Sako 6 PPC, this is exceptionally accurate.

AccurateShooter Forum member Bill White (aka “CT10Ring”) is a New Yorker who relocated to Idaho in his senior years. From his Idaho home, Bill enjoys long-range target shooting. But his favorite gun pastime is varmint hunting in nearby states — the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. Every year he loads up his truck and hits the road, often doing a grand circle route, visiting prairie dog havens in multiple states.

Bill has a large rifle collection, most of which see duty in the varmint fields of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Here are his key “take-aways” for his eight favorite varmint chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250, .22 BR, .22-243, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, and 6-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47).

Eight Great Varmint Cartridge Types — .204, .224, .243 Calibers

.204 Ruger — This delivers great velocity with the little .20-caliber bullets, with mild recoil. The .204 Ruger easily reaches out to 400 yards, but heavier winds do move the tiny bullet around. Tremendous splat factor under 250 yards. I use Sierra 39gr bullets with IMR 8208 XBR in a Sako 75. Even now, .204 Ruger ammo is relatively easy to find.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.223 Remington — Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the USA, the .223 Rem offers inexpensive brass, and is a great choice for AR-15 owners. If you run short on ammo, you can find it nearly everywhere. I often bring one AR-15 and one .223 Rem bolt gun on varmint safaris. My Rem 700 5R 1:9″-twist barrel likes 53gr V-Max bullets.

.22 BR — My .22 BR is my first choice for most prairie dog missions. Accuracy is superb with necked-down 6mmBR Lapua brass — quarter-MOA and blazing fast. With the right twist rate, this chambering can shoot anything from 40gr FB bullets to 80gr VLDs. Load development is easy. Below is my .22 BR ammo for another varmint trip. I use 55gr Sierra BlitzKings with Varget in my 1:12″-twist Shilen-barreled rifle. 60gr Bergers are very accurate with a fairly flat trajectory for useful distances.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.22-250 Rem — A classic varmint cartridge, the .22-250 with 50gr V-Maxs delivers spectacular hits. If three P-Dogs happen to be lined up, I’ve witnessed one .22-250 shot take ‘em all out with a triple hit. I currently have five .22-250-chambered rifles: 3 Sako 75s, one Rem 700, and a single shot Nesika that shoots tiny groups. I favor the very deadly Berger 52gr Varmint HP. Making a custom .22-250? With a 1:8″-twist barrel you can use the full weight range of .22-cal bullets, while spinning the lighter bullets fast for “red mist” effect. Remember this cartridge can be a barrel burner. Don’t shoot too many rounds too quickly.

.22-243 Win — This wildcat is even more potent than the .22-250, delivering devastating results on P-Dogs. Run a .243 Win case slowly through a full-length .22-243 die, with plenty of lube to form the brass. I start with Lapua .243 Win brass. There can be some issues necking-down the brass. Watch for donuts forming at the neck-shoulder junction. I bought my .22-243 rifle not sure how it would perform. But now I love shooting it. My .22-243 delivers half-MOA groups with 41.0 grains RL-22 and Hornady 75gr Amax bullets. With those 75-grainers, it’s great in the wind and good to 600 yards easily.

6 PPC — You may consider the 6 PPC a benchrest competition cartridge only, requiring fire-forming. However I have an original Sako 75 single-shot 6 PPC rifle that I load with Sako-headstamp 6 PPC brass (see below) so no fire-forming is required. This Sako 75 came with a test target that measured 0.113″! With my 6 PPC Sako, I found that 58gr V-Maxs, pushed by Vihtavuori N133, are potent out to 300 yards. [Editor’s NOTE: As the Sako brass is no longer available, new 6 PPC shooters will need to fire-form their brass, or try to find Norma 6 PPC brass.]

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6PPC 6 PPC Sako 75 Ruger

6mmBR — The 6mmBR Norma (6BR) offers a nearly unbeatable combination of accuracy, efficiency, and tunability. With the 6BR and a fast twist barrel, you can shoot everything from 40gr flat-base bullets to the latest 105-110gr match bullets. I load Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N135, and Hornady 58, 65, and 75gr bullets for my Krieger 1:14″-twist HV barrel. While this cartridge is capable of long-range accuracy, I usually limit my 6BR shots to 350-400 yards.

6-6.5×47 Lapua — I have a nice 6-6.5×47 Lapua varmint rifle, with Surgeon action and Manners stock. I Cerakoted the barreled action and then bedded the action. Shown below is 6-6.5×47 ammo I loaded for testing. Note how I separated different bullets and powder loads into multiple, labeled bags. Hodgdon H4350 is a great choice for this cartridge — 39 grains H4350 with 105gr Amax was the winner here, but 88gr Bergers also shot well. This cartridge has tremendous “critter dismantling” abilities out to 600-700 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Six Tips for Novice Long Range Varmint Hunters

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

1. Take twice as much ammo you think you may need. The fields could be particularly rich, or, because of wind or other variables, you may have far more misses than expected.

2. When possible, set up with the wind at your back (or, alternatively, directly ahead). This will minimize the effect of cross-winds. Set up a stake with a ribbon to show wind direction.

3. Bring at least two rifles. Ideally one would be a low-recoil rifle with cheaper components for the closer shots. Then bring a rifle with higher-BC bullets for longer shots where wind is a bigger factor.

4. Check the weather before you head out. Prairie dogs like sunshine and calm conditions. If a cloudy, very blustery day is predicted, considering staying in town and cleaning the rifles.

5. Bring plenty of water on a trip. An adult male should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or other liquid) every day — more if it’s very hot or you are sweating a lot.

6. Preferably always hunt with a companion. If you do go out solo, have a Garmin inReach SatComm/GPS for emergencies if there is no cell coverage in your location.

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May 10th, 2022

Beware Barrel Bore Obstructions — These Can Cause Blow-Ups

Obstructed Barrel Explosion Accident kaboom
Above is a sectioned barrel showing an 80gr Sierra that was fired in a .223 bolt action with a cleaning rod in the bore. Both the bullet and the rod are still in the bore.

A Negligent Shooter Gets Lucky
“Here we have a story so filled with negligent acts that I can only marvel that the shooter survived the experience. The photo and narrative were provided by the gunsmith who took in the repair job, my comments are in italics. It’s worth reading, we can’t get enough safety warnings in our hobby.” — GS Arizona, Rifleman’s Journal

Description of Incident (with Commentary)
The shooter had a stuck case in his .223 chamber. The stuck case was actually a loaded round that didn’t fire. It wouldn’t extract because it was a .222 case that got mixed in with his .223 brass. [He had loaded the wrong brass.] I saw the loaded round with an 80gr bullet in it and a light primer strike. Negligent Act #1: Wrong brass was mixed in with the brass being reloaded.

The shooter removed the stuck case with a 3-piece aluminum rod. Negligent Act #2: Hammering out a loaded round with a cleaning rod. People have been killed doing this as the round can fire and drive the cleaning rod right into you. I remember one such incident about 5 years ago, the shooter was pounding out a stuck round, the cleaning rod went right through him, he didn’t survive.

The shooter didn’t notice only two segments of the cleaning rod came out when he removed it. Negligent Act #3: If you put anything at all down the barrel of a rifle you’d better make darn sure you got it all out before doing anything else!

He then chambered another round and fired it. Negligent act #4: If you’ve had a barrel obstruction of any kind, and if you’ve put something in the barrel, look through the barrel before proceeding! Within the past two years I know of an incident in which a benchrest shooter was killed in exactly this manner. The pressure built up and the rifle bolt came out of the receiver and into his chest.

The shooter is ‘OK’, but did not escape unscathed. He said there was a huge explosion and after regaining his senses found he was bleeding heavily from his forehead. The blood was thick enough that it ran in his eyes and he couldn’t see. In his words “I thought I was going to die”.

He has what looks like a pretty deep cut about an inch long on the side of his head, right in line with his right eye starting where the eye socket turns out to the side of the skull. And no telling what he’s got in the way of brass particles embedded in his forehead.

He was shooting on private property, and was alone when this happened. Negligent Act #5: Don’t shoot alone! Accidents happen, this is just one more example. If we could predict accidents, we wouldn’t have them. Always shoot with at least one other person.

He managed to get the bleeding stopped, or at least under control, packed his car and drove himself home without seeking immediate medical attention. Negligent Act #6: This one could have cost him his life after being lucky enough to survive the incident. There’s no way to know what’s happened just after an incident like this. He should have been at a hospital getting checked for shrapnel in the head.

The rod and slug could not be driven out. Since the barrel had a high round count there was no point in trying to salvage it. Note that the aluminum rod is expanded to a tight fit in the bore for the first couple inches. The base of the bullet is a little over 2″ from the mouth of the chamber.

What we’ve seen here is negligence and an absolute indifference to the established rules of safe reloading and gun handling, from start to finish, capped off with the shooter’s foolish avoidance of medical treatment. This shooter is lucky to be alive, but he’s surely used up all his luck. Don’t assume you’ll be so fortunate.

This article originally appeared in the Rifleman’s Journal website, which is no longer available.

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May 9th, 2022

Bargain Finder 346: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

WARNING re CZ Rifle Sales: There was a previous link to a purported sale of blemished CZ Rifles. Do NOT purchase anything from the listed seller which called itself CZ USA Firearms. There are multiple issues.

1. Creedmoor Sports — Sightron Scope Sale

sightron scope sale
Save $200 on highly-rated Sightron Scopes now through June 30, 2022

If you’re looking for a great deal on a solid, competition-worthy optic, check out the Sightron Sale at Creedmoor Sports. They have a large selection of the most popular scopes in the Sightron lineup all at prices you can’t pass up. You can save $200 on the SIII 8-32x56mm and save $200 on the SIII 10-50x56mm model. Both are great choices for benchrest or F-Class Competition. Varminters should consider the S-TAC 4-20x560mm, now discounted from $529.99 to $449.99.

2. Midsouth — Berger Match Grade .223 Rem Ammo, $34.99

berger .223 ammo
Match-quality loaded ammo with Berger bullets, Lapua brass

Are you looking to compete but don’t want the hassle of hand-loading ammo? Then consider Berger Match Grade Long Range .223 ammo, now $34.99 per 20-rd box at Midsouth. This is very high quality ammo employing the best components — Lapua brass and Berger bullets. This ammo should work great for service rifle shooters and Palma shooters who run a .223 Rem. Two bullet options are offered: 73gr BT target bullet or the 77gr OTM Tactical bullet.

3. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Hand Deprimer Tool, $26.81

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer Tool
Very good, effective depriming tool that retains spent primers

Decapping brass can be a time-consuming and messy chore. Simplify the task (and avoid messing up your loading area) with the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer Tool. This device lets you remove spent primers anywhere — no press needed and all the mess (cups/anvils/residue) stays in the capture chamber. You can deprime cases while watching TV. This tool features a Universal collet that works with all case types. With good leverage, this tool is easy on the hands too. This is a great deal at just $26.81!

4. Grizzly — Bald Eagle 45″ Soft Rifle Case, $24.97

rifle case sale
Excellent case with shoulder straps and four side pockets

If you need a soft carry case for a rifle under 45″ OAL, here is an exceptional deal. Grizzly Industrial has the Bald Eagle 45″ Soft Rifle Case on sale now for just $24.97 — a steal. These are great cases for the money. They are no longer in production, so you may want to grab a couple while you can at this price.

5. Graf & Sons — Caldwell Hydrosled, $179.95

lead sled sale
Fill lower tank with water for added stability

Looking for a solid rest that’s not oppressively heavy? Check out the Caldwell Hydrosled. The unique design lets you fill a lower tank with water at the range for added weight and stability. Then when you’re done, simply dump the water out and you’ve got a much lighter product to load in your vehicle. When filled, this Hydrosled handles heavy-recoiling cartridges very well, so it’s good for sighting-in hunting rifles.

6. Amazon — Real Avid Toolkit, $80.42

real avid tool sale
Great 90-piece tool kit performs many functions

Real Avid offers high quality tools in convenient packages. Here is a very complete 90-piece Gunsmithing Tool Kit. The kit includes Hex, Phillips, and Torx Bits, plus long bit driver, small bit driver, complete bit set, scope turret adjustment tool and storage case. This is a high quality tool kit with extras like an LED light, integrated hammer, and more. We can recommend this set for gun-owners who work on their firearms.

7. MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat, $35.99

midwayusa pro series competition shooting mag roll-up sale
Excellent mat — good size with nice padding and carry handle

MidwayUSA’s Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat is on sale for just $35.99 — 40% off the regular $59.99 price. This mat is bigger and better than MidwayUSA’s basic shooting mat. The Pro Series mat measures a full 73.5″ x 35.5″ and the padding is thicker. A zippered pocket on the front extension flap holds ammo or log book. There are pockets for bipod feet so you can pre-load your bipod. At $35.99 on sale this Pro Series mat is an excellent deal. Choose either OD green as shown, or Coyote Tan.

8. Amazon — TufForce Shooting Rest Bag, $12.99

rifle rest bag
Good basic support sandbag at exceptionally low price

Whether varmint hunting, target shooting, or attending a precision match, having a versatile bag for front or rear rifle support is important. This nice little TufForce Shooting Rest Bag is on sale now for $12.99 on Amazon. Sized 4″ x 7″ x 9″, the bag offers different heights with different orientations. The bag ships UNFILLED but has a convenient fill hole for rice, sand, or other media. Filled with rice the bag weighs about 5.5 pounds, while filled with sand it weighs about 11 pounds.

9. Amazon — Caldwell Rock Jr., $33.59

caldwell rock rest
Low-cost basic front rest — keep as extra for training new shooters

Here is a basic, adjustable front rest you can use for sighting in a hunting rifle, testing handguns, or varminting. No it won’t suffice for benchrest competition, but it is inexpensive and relatively lightweight so it can be useful at the range or when varminting. This is also a good “spare” rest for shooting sessions with a young family member. On sale now, the Caldwell Rock Jr. Rest is now just $33.59 on Amazon, a very good price for simple yet effective basic shooting rest.


Notice re CZ-USA Firearms: CZ firearms are distributed in the USA by CZ-USA headquartered in Kansas City, MO. For a few hours the Bulletin had a link to a different enterprise calling itself CZ USA Firearms. Do NOT do business with CZ USA Firearms. Stay Away.

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May 8th, 2022

Bullet Concentricity and Alignment — What You Need to Know

Sinclair concentricity 101 eccentricity run-out reloading plans

Sinclair International reloading toolsSinclair International has released an interesting article about Case Concentricity* and bullet “run-out”. This instructional article by Bob Kohl explains the reasons brass can exhibit poor concentricity, and why high bullet run-out can be detrimental to accuracy.

Concentricity, Bullet Alignment, and Accuracy by Bob Kohl
The purpose of loading your own ammo is to minimize all the variables that can affect accuracy and can be controlled with proper and conscientious handloading. Concentricity and bullet run-out are important when you’re loading for accuracy. Ideally, it’s important to strive to make each round the same as the one before it and the one after it. It’s a simple issue of uniformity.

The reason shooters work with tools and gauges to measure and control concentricity is simple: to make sure the bullet starts down the bore consistently in line with the bore. If the case isn’t properly concentric and the bullet isn’t properly aligned down the center of the bore, the bullet will enter the rifling inconsistently. While the bore might force the bullet to align itself with the bore (but normally it doesn’t), the bullet may be damaged or overstressed in the process – if it even it corrects itself in transit. These are issues we strive to remedy by handloading, to maintain the best standard possible for accurate ammunition.

The term “concentricity” is derived from “concentric circle”. In simple terms it’s the issue of having the outside of the cartridge in a concentric circle around the center. That goes from case head and center of the flash hole, to the tip of the bullet.

Factors Affecting Concentricity

The point of using this term is to identify a series of issues that affect accurate ammunition. Ideally this would work best with a straight-walled case; but since most rifle cartridge cases are tapered, it equates to the smallest cross section that can be measured point by point to verify the concentric circle around the center. For the examples below, I’m working with .308 Winchester ammo.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 1: The cartridge.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 2: Centerline axis of the case, extending from flash hole to case mouth.

The case walls have to be in perfect alignment with the center, or axis, of that case, even if it’s measured at a thousandth of an inch per segment (in a tapered case).

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 3: Case body in alignment with its axis, or centerline, even in a tapered case.

The case neck must also be in alignment with its axis. By not doing so you can have erratic bullet entry into the bore. The case neck wall itself should be as uniform as possible in alignment and in thickness (see the M80 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge in Figure 5) and brass can change its alignment and shape. It’s why we expand the case neck or while some folks ream the inside of the neck and then turn the outside for consistent thickness, which affects the tension on the bullet when seated.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 4: Neck in alignment with center of the case axis.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 5: Variations in case neck wall thickness, especially on some military brass, can cause an offset of the bullet in its alignment. This is an M80 ball round. Note the distinct difference of the neck walls.

Having a ball micrometer on hand helps, especially with military brass like 7.62x51mm in a semi-auto rifle, where there are limits as to how thin you want the neck walls to be. In the case of 7.62 ball brass you want to keep the wall to .0145″.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 6: A ball micrometer like this RCBS tool (#100-010-268) can measure case neck thickness.

Turning the outside of the neck wall is important with .308 military cases regardless of whether you expand or ream the neck walls. There are several outside neck turning tools from Forster, Hornady, Sinclair, and others. I’ve been using classic Forster case trimming (#100-203-301) and neck turning (#749-012-890) tools for 40 years.

Bullet Run-Out
The cartridge, after being loaded, still needs to be in alignment with the center of the case axis. Figure 7 shows a bad example of this, a round of M80 ball. A tilted bullet is measured for what’s known as bullet “run-out”.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 7: An M80 round with the bullet tilted and not aligned with the axis. This will be a flyer!

Run-out can be affected by several things: (1) improperly indexing your case while sizing, which includes not using the proper shell holder, especially while using a normal expander ball on the sizing die (it also can stretch the brass). (2) The head of a turret press can flex; and (3) improper or sloppy bullet seating. This is also relevant when it comes to using a progressive press when trying to load accuracy ammo.

Mid Tompkins came up with a simple solution for better bullet seating years ago. Seat your bullet half way into the case, back off the seater die and rotate the case 180 degrees before you finish seating the bullet. It cuts down on run-out problems, especially with military brass. You also want to gently ream the inside of the neck mouth to keep from having any brass mar the surface of the bullet jacket and make proper seating easier. A tilted bullet often means a flyer.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 8: Proper alignment from the center of the case head to the tip of the bullet.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE With More Photos and Tips »


*Actually some folks would say that if we are talking about things being off-center or out-of-round, we are actually talking about “eccentricity”. But the tools we use are called “Concentricity Gauges” and Concentricity is the term most commonly used when discussing this subject.

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May 7th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Gun Digest Reloading Series

Gun Digest reloading video series Phil Massaro youtube

Gun Digest reloading video series Phil Massaro youtubeDo you have a friend who is getting started in hand-loading? Or would you like a refresher course in some of the more important aspects of reloading? Today’s video showcase provides a wealth of information. In these videos, Philip Massaro, Editor-in-Chief of the Gun Digest Annual, explains the techniques handloaders should employ to create safe and accurate pistol and rifle ammunition. These videos are part of an 11-Video Reloading Series from Gun Digest.

After the intro video, there is a video on case resizing, with a focus on full-length sizing. Next Massaro explains how primers work and he demonstrates how to seat primers. There is a video dedicated to bullet choice, followed by a video on bullet seating, both with and without crimping. Today’s video showcase concludes with a helpful video on troubleshooting, showing how to check your ammo and disassemble rounds when something isn’t right.

CLICK HERE to Watch All 11 Gun Digest Reloading Videos »

Basics Of Reloading
What goes into reloading ammo? Here are the five basic handloading steps — removing the primer, resizing the case, inserting a new primer, adding powder, and seating a new bullet. Gun Digest also has a related video on Reloading Tools, explaining the basic tools you’ll need: dies, press, scale, powder measure or powder-dispensing machine, and measuring tools.

Case Prep and Resizing
The reloading process starts with your cartridge brass. You need to remove carbon from the case exterior, check for case damage and signs of incipient separation. And it often makes sense to clean the primer pockets. It’s also wise to check case length, and chamfer/debur the case necks (as needed). Then the cases should be resized before loading. We recommend full-length resizing for rifle rounds.

Primer Types Explained
What is the difference between a large rifle primer and a magnum large rifle primer? Can you use magnum primers in standard cartridges and vice versa? These are among the topics discussed in this video.

Priming Procedures — Using Press or Hand Tool — and Powder Throwing
In this video, Philip Massaro tackles primer installation, the first process of assembly in reloading and case charging. Learn the differences between large and small primers, and how to use a primer cup accessory on a single stage press. Then Massaro shows various methods to dispense the correct powder charge.

Bullets — How to Select the Right Projectile for your Application
Not every bullet is appropriate for every job. Find out what projectile you’ll need to win a shooting match or put meat on the table. Not all bullets are created equal — hunting bullets are different than match bullets and varmint bullets are different than big game projectiles. With this in mind, Phil Massaro examines different bullet designs — including a look at Nosler’s line of projectiles.

Cartridge Completion — Bullet Seating
In this installment, Philip Massaro covers the final step in cartridge assembly, bullet seating. He covers how to use a micrometer seating die for reloading, as well as various ways to crimp handgun bullets. Massaro demonstrates seating bullets for the .357 Mag, .45 ACP, .30-06 Springfield, and .458 Win Magnum cartridges. The video also covers using a roll-crimp and taper crimp.

Reloading Troubleshooting
This is a very important video, that shows how to troubleshoot potential problems with handload ammunition. The host shows how to check for potential case head separation and other brass problems. He shows how to get stuck cases out of dies using the drill and tap procedure. Also covered are collet bullet pullers and inertia hammers for removing seated bullets from cases. This is necessary if you mistakenly seat too deeply or forget to charge the case with powder.

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May 7th, 2022

Guide to IMR Enduron Powders — Temp Stable, Reduced Fouling

IMR Enduron Powder 4166 4451 7977

Have you tried IMR Enduron powders yet (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977, and/or 8133)? We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen. IMR’s line of Enduron extruded powders offer excellent temp stability, reduced copper fouling, and good load density for many popular cartridges (such as .223 Rem, 6mmBR, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 WSM to name a few). Some of our Forum members have reported excellent results with IMR 4166 in the 6mmBR, Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win. One member wrote: “in my 6.5×47… 4166 gives speeds and accuracy pretty much exactly the same as Varget.” And other shooters have observed reduced copper fouling with Enduron series powders, so IMR’s Enduron anti-fouling chemistry does seem to work.

IMR now offers five (5) Enduron powders: IMR 4166, IMR 4451, IMR 4955, IMR 7977, and IMR 8133. Shooters looking for good alternatives to hard-to-find extruded powders should definitely check out the Enduron line-up. Precision shooters will find an Enduron option well-suited to most popular precision cartridge types. For example, IMR 4166 is a good replacement for Hodgdon Varget (commonly used in the .223 Rem, 6mmBR and .308 Win), while IMR 4955 is a fine substitute for H4831 (favored by F-Open shooters for the .284 Win and 7mm WSM cartridges).

enduron IMR Powder Hodgdon extreme

The Enduron Line-Up of Five Powders

IMR now offers five Enduron powders that cover a broad range of burn rates. They are suitable for a wide variety of cartridges, from small varmint cartridges all the way up to the .338 Lapua Magnum.

IMR Enduron Powders

IMR 4166 possesses the fastest burn rate in the Enduron lineup. It is the perfect burn speed for cartridges such as .308 Win, 7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Rem and 257 Roberts. A versatile, match-grade propellant, IMR 4166 is comparable to Hodgdon® Varget.

IMR 4451 is a mid-range burn speed powder, ideally suited for cartridges such as .270 Winchester, .30-06 and 300 Winchester Short Magnum. This powder is comparable to Hodgdon H4350.

IMR 4955 is a medium burn speed powder, falling in between IMR 4451 and IMR 7977 in burn speed. It provides top performance in big game cartridges such as 25-06, 280 Remington and 300 Winchester Magnum. This powder is comparable to Hodgdon H4831.

IMR 7977 is a slower burn rate in the Enduron family. Loading density is perfect for magnums. This is a true magnum propellant yielding outstanding performance in .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum. IMR 7977 is comparable to Hodgdon H1000.

IMR 8133 IMR Enduron 8133 is the slowest burn rate in the Enduron family. Loading density is perfect for the very large magnums, including the 6.5mm and 7mm magnums. This is a true magnum propellant yielding outstanding performance in 6.5-300 Weatherby, .264 Win Mag, 28 Nosler and .300 Rem Ultra Mag, among other cartridges.

IMR Enduron Technology powders are sold in one-pound (1 lb) and eight-pound (8-lb) containers through quality retailers including Graf & Sons, Midsouth, and Powder Valley. Check frequently for current availability as these will sell out quickly after arrival. Also check your local sporting goods dealers for recent powder shipments.

IMR Enduron Powders 4955 4451 4166 7977

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May 6th, 2022

Berger 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo Performs Great in PRS Rifle

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Is factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition good enough to win a PRS or NRL competition? The answer is a resounding “YES” if we’re talking about Berger ammunition. Produced with Berger match bullets and premium Lapua brass, this Berger 6.5 ammunition demonstrated excellent accuracy, impressive velocity, and very good ES/SD numbers. When tested at 1000 yards with an MPA-stocked PRS rig with Rem 700 action, this ammo showed just half-MOA of vertical, and produced a group that would have been a 50-1X in F-Class competition. That’s quite impressive for a PRS rig.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

This ammo test was performed by our friend Erik Cortina from Texas. Erik is a top F-Class competitor who also shoots tactical matches (for fun and glory). Erik recently built a new 6.5 Creedmoor with a Remington 700 action. Though this rifle sports a top-shelf MPA chassis and premium Kahles scope, Erik calls this his “budget build” because it has a plain Rem 700 factory action rather than the elite Borden actions he normally runs. Erik’s actions of choice are the Borden Mountaineer for PRS and Borden BRM-XD for F-Class.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik posted: “Shot my budget 6.5 Creedmoor today with Berger Bullets factory ammo. I shot five rounds over the chrono to get speed. I used BC info from the box and it all lined up properly. I adjusted my ECTuner to tune load and it took just 15 shots to get it shooting well. It’s simple with good components.”

This Berger factory ammo features Berger 130gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullets. The Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cases have a large rifle primer. You can see this ammo displays good velocity with Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation rivaling good hand-loads.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brassCortina says the very accurate Brux barrel and razor-sharp 6-24x56mm Kahles scope help achieve this kind of outstanding performance at 1000 yards. Here are the key components for Erik’s latest PRS rig:

Masterpiece Arms BA Competition Chassis
Brux Heavy Varmint 26-inch, 1:8″-twist barrel
Remington 700 Action (custom bolt knob)
ECTuner (by Erik Cortina)
Kahles 6-24x56mm MIL Scope
MPA 1-piece 30mm Scope Mount

Barrel Tuner by Erik Cortina — Fits Behind Muzzle Brake
This rifle features a barrel tuner designed and crafted by Erik Cortina. You can the ECTuner alone, or, as you can see, the ECTuner can be fitted BEHIND a muzzle brake. Erik tells us: “The ECTuner allowed me to tune the barrel to my ammo rather than tuning the ammo for barrel as is done when reloading. With the tuner, there is no need to try different brands of ammo as they can all be tuned to shoot as good as possible in my rifle.”

MPA Chassis Configuration Guide
Erik’s “budget” PRS rifle employs a MasterPiece Arms (MPA) BA Competition Chassis with Rapid Adjustment Technology (RAT). This MPA Arms Video shows how to set up an MPA Chassis to suit the owner:

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May 5th, 2022

New Brass and Ammunition Offerings from Lapua

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Capstone is a respected company that represents world-class ammunition, powder, and component manufacturers Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. At SHOT Show 2022, Capstone showcased new products from all these brands. Here are summaries of the new-for-2022 products from Lapua and SK.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mvNew Lapua Cartridge Brass:
6.5 PRC, .284 Win, .300 PRC, .300 Win Mag

Lapua cartridge brass sets the standard by which quality brass is measured. You will see Lapua brass used by top competitors for all accuracy-oriented disciplines: Benchrest for Score, Benchrest for Group, 1000-Yard Benchrest, F-Class (Open and F-TR), Palma, Service Rifle, Silhouette. And Lapua brass is also favored by varmint hunters who load their own ammo. In 2021 and 2022 Lapua has rolled out new types of top-grade cartrige barss. New offerings available now for 6.5 PRC, .284 Winchester, .300 PRC, and .300 Winchester Magnum. All are available and shipping now.

New Lapua Centerfire Match Ammunition
Lapua produces some of the finest, most accurate factory-loaded centerfire ammunition in the world. We have shot Lapua 90gr 6mmBR ammo that produced verified groups well under quarter-MOA. that’s remarkable for factory-loaded ammo that has not been tuned for a particular rifle. For 2022, Lapua has added three new match loads that promise great consistency and accuracy. For 2022, Lapua has added 6.5 Creedmoor 136 Grain Scenar-L, .260 Remington 136 Grain Scenar-L, and .300 Winchester Magnum 185 Grain Scenar OTM, to Lapua’s highly successful Scenar Match Target ammunition line.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

New Lapua Hunting Ammunition for 2022
Lapua’s ammo gurus in Finland definitely know how to build hunting rounds that are ultra-effective on game. Lapua has been crafting hunting ammo for nearly 100 years! New hunting ammo offerings include .223 Remington 50 Grain Naturalis, 6.5 Creedmoor 156 Grain MEGA, .300 Win Mag 170 Grain Naturalis (lead-free), and .300 Win Mag 185 Grain MEGA. All these hunting ammo types are available now.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

SK High-Velocity Match Rimfire Ammunitions
SK is owned by the same parent company as Lapua. SK now offers an extremely accurate, High-Velocity round. For 2022 SK will offer High-Velocity Match .22 LR ammunition. This new SK ammo pushes a 40gr round-nose projectile at a very fast 1,263 FPS muzzle velocity. This high-velocity SK ammunition should work well for PRS/NRL22 matches and long-range rimfire events, some of which have targets out to 300 meters. The new SK High-Velocity Match ammo employs a proprietary clean-burning and high-energy propellant for reliable function in all platforms — shot after shot.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

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May 5th, 2022

For Varmints — Ruger Precision Rimfire in .17 HMR & .22 WMR

ruger precision rimfire 17 hmr .22 WMR rifle new.17 HMR and .22 WMR Options Enhance
Ruger Precision Rimfire for Varmint Work

Many readers may not know this, but the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle is available in two additional rimfire chamberings: .17 HMR and .22 WMR. While .22 LR ammo is considerably cheaper, .17 HMR and .22 WMR shoot flatter and deliver much more energy. This makes the Ruger rig way more suitable for varminting. In fact we think this .17 HMR transforms the Ruger Precision Rimfire into a very good “carry-around” varmint rifle. We really like the .17 HMR — it’s our favorite rimfire cartridge for small varmints out to 160 yards.

Both cartridge types, .17 HMR and .22 WMR, also offer higher velocities, less wind drift, and flatter trajectory than the .22 LR. This is a benefit when cross-training. You can shoot at more distant targets with considerably less elevation dialed in your scope. And the windage corrections will be less extreme.

Ruger says: “Faster, flatter and with high-performing bullets, .17 HMR and .22 WMR cartridges expand the capabilities of the Ruger Precision Rimfire platform. Like its .22 LR predecessor, these new magnum offerings maintain the same ergonomics, trigger and manual of arms as the larger centerfire Ruger Precision Rifle.”


Here’s an excellent video review of the .17 HMR Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle by YouTuber 22 Plinkster. The reviewer was impressed with the rifle’s accuracy with 17gr ammo.

Both Ruger Precision Rimfire rifles feature 18″ hammer-forged barrels threaded for muzzle devices, including the Ruger® Silent-SR®. The 15″ free-float handguard with Magpul M-LOK slots provides generous scope clearance and easy mounting of M-LOK-compatible rails and accessories.

ruger precision rimfire 17 hmr .22 WMR rifle new

Like its .22 LR version, the magnum Ruger Precision Rimfire models featured an adjustable bolt throw (that can emulate a centerfire action if desired), along with trigger that adjusts from 2.25 to 5 pounds. The .17 HMR and .22 WMR models ship with a 0 MOA Picatinny rail and one, 15-round BX-15 Magnum magazine or one, 9-round JMX-1 rotary magazine. The BX-15 Magnum is a natural pairing for the new Ruger Precision Rimfire in magnum calibers. It is also compatible with Ruger 77/17®, Ruger 77/22® and Ruger American® Rimfire rifles chambered in .17 HMR and .22 WMR.

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